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International Gender and Women's Studies Topics : Databases

GWS on a Global Scale

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International Gender/Women's Studies topics often require searching in a variety of journal article databases, including those for regions of the world, for international affairs, for gender/women, and related to specific topics, such as law, health, business, film, education, etc. Newspapers are also important sources (see separate tab for newspapers).

Hints on using databases:

Include synonyms or near synonyms to increase your results. Examples:

  • REFUGEES -- also look for any/all of these: asylum, "human displacement,"  "internally displaced," resettlement  and "forced migration"
  • HUMAN TRAFFICKING -- also look for any/all of these: "bonded labor," "sexual slavery," bondage, and "forced labor"

Look for articles from scholarly sources. Such articles include most or all of these characteristics:

  • Written by scholars (their affiliation is usually provided in the article)
  • Often peer-reviewed before accepted for publication; at least has gone through an editorial process (many databases offer "peer-reviewed" as a limit)
  • Appearance is serious -- text and charts, sometimes illustrations
  • Part of the scholarly conversation -- cites earlier work, is addressed to other scholars, includes author's own research, analysis, interpretation  &/or argument
  • Lag time of two or more years for a current event or new topic to get scholarly analysis
  • Articles are published in a journal (often has "journal" in the name!) and often are lengthy
  • Books are published by university and other academic presses
  • Specialized language (aka jargon)
  • Footnotes and bibliographies

The boxes below provide ways to search selected databases.

Gender/Women's Studies Databases

International Affairs and Area Studies Databases

International Affairs Databases

More International Affairs Databases (goes to the UW-Madison Libraries' full list of links to international affairs databases)


Examples of some regional databases

  • Bibliography of Asian Studies Indexes articles dealing with any part of Asia.
  • Quarterly Index of African Periodical Literature Indexes articles from Eastern and Southern African countries.
  • HAPI Online HAPI (Hispanic American Periodicals Index) indexes articles on Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean basin, the United States-Mexico border region, and Hispanics in the United States.
  • Political Database of the Americas Useful for finding organizations working on civil society and democracy in Latin America.

For more regional databases, select the region of interest from the list of UW-Madison databases, by subject

  • Africa and Middle East
  • East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea)
  • Latin America, the Caribbean, and Iberia (Spain & Portugal)
  • Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia
  • South and Southeast Asia

Law/Legal Databases

Librarians in the UW-Madison Law Library have created many useful research guides, including Human Rights Research Guide, by Jenny Zook; International Law, Foreign, Comparative and Private,  by Sunil Rao; and Women, Gender Studies and the Law, by Bonnie Shucha. For other law-related topics, use the Law Library Subject Guides page.

Law reviews (law journals published in law schools) often have articles analyzing international cases, treaties, and more. Some law reviews are specifically on women/gender/feminism, such as the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, the Berkeley Journal of GenderLaw & Justice, and the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society. Though the law reviews can be searched directly in fulltext in Hein Online Law Journal Library or in  Lexis-Nexis  law reviews section (once you are in Lexis-Nexis,  select "US Legal" and then 'Law Reviews" in the navigation column on the left), it is often easier to start with the Index to Legal Periodicals.

Law journal articles have a high ratio of footnotes to text and use legal language, but are often an excellent source of information once you get used to the style. If you run into terms for which you need a legal definition, try the Lexis-Nexis "Legal Reference" section (under "US Legal").

Canadian cases and law journals, as well as European Union and Commonwealth countries cases are in Lexis-Nexis "International Legal" category.